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Townshend DCT Isolda speaker cable & F1 Fractal XLR balanced interconnect cable

Townshend Audio
DCT Isolda speaker cable &
F1 Fractal balanced
XLR interconnect cable
Experience Review

Townshend DCT Isolda speaker cable & F1 Fractal XLR balanced interconnect cable

Click an image to enlarge.

Information from Townshend Audio

DCT Isolda speaker cable

Townshend Audio DCT (Deep Cryogenically Treated) Isolda Speaker cables have an enviable reputation as being the best cables you can buy. They are a natural and satisfying component for the discerning listener, neither adding nor taking away anything to or from the sound, while never becoming fatiguing or irritating. They are just right! We even recommend the use of our Isolda speaker cables in un-equal lengths as the sound is virtually the same, regardless of length.

Townshend Isolda DCT Speaker Cable use very closely spaced insulated flat copper conductors in polyester braid sheath. Unlike the majority of speaker cables this cable’s close spacing means it is virtually immune to RFI (radio frequency interference) and presents an impedance which closely matches that of the loudspeaker. The result is bass with a solidity and power that is truly seismic, accompanied with genuinely silent backgrounds and incredible 3D imaging.

Fractal-Wire™ is Townshend Audio’s ultimate interconnect. It took a long time to improve the Isolda EDCT (Enhanced™ Deep Cryogenic Treatment), but we finally achieved it by developing the Fractal-Wire™ proprietary treatment process.

This is as big a breakthrough as was achieved and much imitated when we discovered the benefits of Enhanced Deep Cryogenic Treatment (also applied to Fractal-Wire™). But this time we’re keeping the details to ourselves! Suffice to say that you have not heard a truly transparent cable until you’ve heard

Townshend Audio Fractal-Wire™.

Each Fractal-Wire™ Interconnect is made by hand because this is the only way to build a cable that has the absolute minimum contact with the insulator. The signal travels through a very thin polyester coated enamelled copper wire, which is spiralled around a much thicker bare copper ground. Because signal and return conductors are so tightly spaced external electric fields cannot get in. As a result, these cables completely stop hum in valve amplifier setups, whilst blocking radio frequency interference (RFI).

As the signal conductors only come into occasional contact with the inner of the two concentric PTFE tubes degradation due dielectric mass is kept at the barest minimum. The PTFE tubes are in turn placed inside clear PVC outer.

Fractal-Wire™ is terminated in the industry best Neutrik Profi RCA phono plugs which have a spring loaded ground collar. The balanced version of Fractal-Wire™ incorporates two strands of the ultra-fine enamelled copper conductor spiralled together with a parallel drain wire but no shielding, it is terminated with Neutrik XLR plugs.

Experience Review

Never say “never?”

For most of my hi-fi improving, music loving years, I would check the price of some speaker cables and, or interconnects and would either laugh out loud, or just walk away cursing! Nobody in my hi-fi enthusiast, music loving circle would have ever dared to suggest paying above a specific amount for such cables, or interconnects for fear of me setting the cat on them! I also confess, though I was fully aware of Townshend highly revered isolation platforms, I had no idea Townshend Audio manufactured speaker and interconnect cables.

Extract from the Audio Hungary Qualiton P200 Amplifier
& C200 Preamplifier Experience Review…

Townshend DCT Isolda speaker cable

‘It was surprising, exciting and initially disconcerting to discover the super revealing qualities of this Audio Hungary Qualiton combo with Townshend cables in-line. As expected, many of the previously known good recordings and pressings (on CD and vinyl) did leave me smiling as I listened intently, foot tapping, absorbing and remembering exactly why I considered them as good recordings and, or pressings. Of course I expected MORE from this Audio Hungary Qualiton combo with Townshend cables in-line, and MORE is exactly what this combo delivered in the form of detailed, defined textures and greater musical realism overall.’

‘I was also taken aback by the amount of music appearing from the dead silent, pitch black, crude oil noise floor and immersive soundstage! Don’t get me wrong, there were also a few surprises in respect of some of my previously known (or suspected) bad and uglier recordings via vinyl or CD format. This combo revealed ‘the truth’. If the recording, mix or pressing was not up to scratch (excuse the pun)
this combo did let me know!’

The human voice

Townshend F1 Fractal blanced XLR interconnect

The human voice (as with all musical instruments) has many attributes. Frequency, harmonic structure, timbre and intensity,’ are just a few of the relatively common terms used to describe the human voice. Just as with all instruments, when listening to the voice (a singer) I am not just expecting the above technical aspects to be conquered,I am expecting the voice to convey an understanding of composition, melody and emotion. Many may believe that if the above technical attributes are conquered, then of course the emotion and everything else will naturally follow. Unfortunately this is not always the case. I have experienced cold vocal deliveries from a few technically adept vocalists (and hi-fi systems) capable of delivering copious levels of ‘detail. Of course, system synergy is one of the important attributes for any system. As mentioned above, I am now using Audio Hungary valve amplification for reasons carefully described in the Audio Hungary Experience Review. I also love my MartinLogan ESL11A speakers (both renowned for beguiling vocal delivery). The ‘right’ speaker cable and interconnects are an important link in the musical chain, and very easy to get wrong (as I initially discovered)!

The Friends Of Distinction - Grazin’

With the above thoughts in mind, I was keen to continue my listening experimentation with as many different types and style of vocal delivery as I could find within my collection.

The Friends Of Distinction “Grazin’” (RCA Victor LSP 4149) is a record purchase I procured at the very beginning of my amplifier - preamplifier search four years ago. I was amazed to discover this album contained two well-known classics in the soul-jazz fraternity. “Grazing In The Grass” (instrumental made famous by Hugh Masekela) and “Going In Circles” (covered by Luther Vandross). This soulful and occasionally theatrical inspired vocal quartet (two male & two female) is backed by a full band (this was the sixties after-all). Previous listening sessions with this album using other amplification and cables produced a ‘very nice’ but somewhat sterile vocal delivery. The difference in delivery this time around was palpable. There was far more emphasis on ‘individual’ voices within the quartet. Vocal separation (though still harmonising effectively) was also superior over previous listening sessions. Not surprisingly, band (instrument) separation was also more noticeable. Overall, the richness of harmonies and vocal solo performances (both male and female) were more engaging throughout this set with the Audio Hungary combo and Townshend cables in-line.

Minnie Riperton - The Best Of

Minnie Riperton “The Best Of” (Capitol Records). This album is a sublime collection of both studio and live recordings steeped in an R&B - jazz tinged style. Unlike many compilation albums, the sonic qualities of this album are very good overall. The trademark effortless innocence and pitch perfect delivery of Minnie Ripperton’s vocals have mesmerised real music lovers for decades. As well as the aforementioned vocal attributes, Riperton’s ‘whistle register’, or (whistle note) particularly evident with the world wide hit “Lovin’ You”’ and “Can you Feel What I am Saying” (live version) even caught the attention of my cat this time around! This is actually the first time I felt comfortable (or encouraged) to explore both sides of this album. I have previously cherry picked my favourite tracks from side one only. The ease at which Minnie Riperton was able to transition through her five octave range was more evident through valve amplification and with the Townshend cables connected. The sweetness to her delivery has always been evident to me, but here, there appears to be even greater clarity, more emotion and depth to her vocals than ever before.

Kurt Elling - The Gate

Kurt Elling “The Gate” (Universal Concord Jazz). Elling’s rich mahogany baritone on any recording (CD or vinyl record) has been a consistent favourite of mine since witnessing his live performance at the PizzaExpress Jazz Club, 2006.

Though Elling’s style and delivery has been compared to the likes of Frank Sinatra, I firmly believe Elling’s ability to convey stories and mood is a unique gift which deserves its own title. “The Gate” includes various noteworthy covers, including “Matte Kudasai” (King Crimson) “Norwegian Wood” (Beetles) and “After The Love Has Gone” (Earth Wind & Fire) to name just a few. Elling is able to immerse himself within each composition and produce nothing short of lush vocal magnificence. Previous listening experiences provided a silky experience that I enjoyed, however, with the Audio Hungary P200 Amplifier, C200 Preamplifier with Townshend cables in-line, I not only experienced a touch of silk, but also greater substance! I just felt a few seats closer to that Kurt Elling live performance at the PizzaExpress Jazz Club, as well as his many other live performances I have been fortunate enough to have experienced.


These cables have performed one of the oldest magic tricks known to man and womankind, they simply disappeared. Obviously I refer to the term ‘disappeared’ from an audible anomaly, or cable character imprint perspective. The cables appear to be a transparent conduit allowing information (music) to pass through without being hindered. To put it simply, bass notes are incredibly coherent, deep with, shape and a form. Higher frequencies are hash and tinge free. Rhythm and timing just seem to fall in place. Just like many things in life, sometimes you don’t know what you have until it is gone. (I refer to hash, distortion and other anomalies which can be associated with music playback).

It is very important to note that the above listening observation notes were written long before I read the technical information provided by Townshend Audio. It was reassuring to read that the above positive attributes were the designers’ intention!

I do not pretend that these cables will be within the financial reach of everyone, as well as the fact that some may feel their system will not benefit from such cables. It has taken me some time to get here myself. I had to save my pounds and pennies for some time before taking this very deep plunge. I am so glad I did! However, if anyone can find cables that perform exactly as these do, at a cheaper price, I strongly suggest you purchase them and please do let me know!

Full speaker cable shortlist

Townshend DCT Isolda speaker cable
Shunyata Research Venom-X Speaker cable
AudioQuest Rocket 33 speaker cable
AudioQuest Rockert 44 speaker cable
Audioquest Rocket 88 speaker cable
Origin Live Soli-Core speaker cable

Full balanced Interconnect short-list

Townshend F1 Fractal balanced XLR
Shunyata Research Venom-X balanced XLR
Audioquest Mackenzie balanced XLR

Complete system details:

AMG Viella V12 turntable with AMG Teatro MC with newly fitted the Fritz Gyger II stylus & AMG reference tonearm cable.

Phono stage & interconnect cables. Whest PS.40RDT Special Edition phono stage.
We used the Townshend F1 Fractal balanced XLR interconnect cable between the phono stage and Audio Hungary C200 Preamplifier.

CD player
Musical Fidelity A3 CD player.
Pure silver bespoke RCA cables between CD player and preamplifier.

Audio Hungary P200 Amplifier & C200 Preamplifier with supplied Tung-Sol KT120 tubes
(Tung-Sol KT150 tubes are optional).
With Luminist Revision Poseidon balanced XLR interconnect cable.

Speakers & speaker cable
MartinLogan ESL11A speakers (ARC (Anthem Room Correction switched off)
with Townshend DCT Isolda speaker cable.

Quadraspire Q4 EVO 4 tier shelf.

Power & mains cables
Russ Andrews balanced mains unit (BMU 3000)
Russ Andrews Powerkord 300 mains cables for Russ Andrews BMU 3000, amplifier, preamplifier, CD player and speakers.

Various alternative BMU configurations were used during this experience, such as power amplifier, or preamplifier plugged directly into the wall as well as the BMU 3000.
Connecting the preamplifier, CD player & phono stage to the BMU 300 gave best results to our ears.

Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio
January - February 2024


Use the link below to go to the Audio Hungary Qualiton P200 Power Amplifer
& C200 Preamplifer Experience Review part one,
or the Townshend Audio logo to reach their website.
A huge thank you to Matt McNulty (RockDoc Analogue & Audio Specialist) for his patience
when organising the delivery of the Townshend cables, click his link below to reach his website...

Audio Hungary Qualiton P200 Power Amplifer & C200 Preamplifier Experience Review part one (click to go to this page) Townshend Engenring HI-FI (click to go to this website) The Rock Doc(Click to go to his website)

Go back to Hi-Fi Experience Home Page

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